This tutorial focuses on the steps necessary to convert embedded Base Forms to standalone Writer documents, then generating a switchboard interface which utilizes push buttons to open those documents. Villeroy has mentioned/outlined this process on several occasions so here's the breakdown step-by-step...
Begin by saving your current database Forms as standalone Writer documents:
(1) In Base right-click each Form to Edit, then Save Copy as... > ODF Text Document (.odt).
(2) Open each new (.odt) Writer Form and select View > Toolbars > Form Design.
(3) Turn "on" Design Mode using the Form Design toolbar (second icon from the left).
(4) Turn "on" Form Navigator (fifth icon from the left).
(5) In the popup 'Form Navigator' window, right-click each Form (MainForms and SubForms) and click Properties.
Note: The Form Navigator window reveals the 'Forms' structure which may include any number of "MainForms" and their associated "SubForms." Each MainForm and SubForm can be linked to a separate Data source (.odb file registered within OOo/LibO), Content type (Table, Query, or SQL command), and Content (selected by Table/Query name or by manual SQL entry).
Note: You can register your Base files (.odb) in OOo/LibO by clicking: Tools > Options... > Base > Databases(6) In the popup 'Form Properties' window, select the Data tab, and then proceed to select a Data source, Content type, and Content for each MainForm and SubForm in your Form Navigator window.
Note: don't miss Villeroy's sub-steps (6-1 thru 6-3) in the next post below which will save you some time and frustration when re-establishing the Data source when your Content consists of an existing SQL command. In fact, you'll want to use the SQL-command option over the Query option because SQL-commands are uniquely saved in the Form which enhances the portability of standalone Forms. There's also a nice tip for utilizing un-registered databases (Base .odb files), but it's generally better to utilize database registration in OOo/LibO because Data source links are hard-coded (non-relative links) in all cases (not good programming), so it's probably easier to manage the link centrally rather than for each MainForm/SubForm, as Villeroy also points-out.(7) Turn "off" Design Mode using the Form Design toolbar (second icon from the left) and test your Form for proper function.
(8 ) When you're satisfied with each standalone Writer Form, click File > Save
Note: there's no need to save each Form "read-only" when using a Push Button to open the Form due to the associated "read-only" option of the URL. However, this option still allows the user to enter 'Design Mode' using the appropriate toolbar, so it may be best to save a more permanent "read-only" version. File > Save As... > Save with password (checkbox) > More Options... (button) > Open file read-only (checkbox). Do not specify a password. To regain the ability to edit the Writer-Form document after saving "read-only" simply Save As... another copy without the "read-only" attribute.
Create the switchboard using a new Writer document:
(A) In OOo/LibO, select File > New > Text Document
(B) View > Web Layout
(C) Format > Page... > Background tab > As > select a Color or Graphic as desired
(D) View > Toolbars > Form Controls
(E) On the Form Controls toolbar, select Push Button and drag-create a Push Button on the document.
(F) Right-click the new Push Button > Anchor > To Page as necessary
(G) Right-click the new Push Button > Control... opens the Properties: Push Button dialog box
(H) Scroll down to Action > Open document/web page
(J) Now select URL > [...] (browse button) and locate the desired Writer-Form document (.odt) > Read-only (checkbox) > Open (button)
Note: don't miss the "Read-only" checkbox option while "Opening" this URL link.
Note: this will create a "hard link" (including full path) to your selected Writer-Form document. To create a more flexible "relative link" to your Form document, simply edit the URL directly in the URL property text box. For instance, if all your Writer-Form documents will be saved in the same folder with your switchboard document, then delete the entire path to the (.odt) Form leaving only the Writer-Form document name. A "relative link" allows the Writer-Forms and switchboard document to be moved together (as a folder) and retain function without re-linking each document. Thus, the only "hard link" associated with your switchboard is the central 'Data source' registration (path to your .odb file) in OOo/LibO. (K) While you're in the Properties: Push Button dialog box, feel free to adjust the Label, Font, etc as desired
(L) Close the dialog box and Turn "off" Design Mode (second button on the Form Controls or Form Design toolbar), and test the new Push Button making sure the associated Form opens "read-only" for immediate use.
(M) File > Save to preserve your work so far
(N) Repeat steps E thru M as necessary to add additional Push Buttons
(O) And finally, File > Save As... > Save with password (checkbox) > Save (button, opens the Set Password dialog box, but skip to...) > More Options... (button) > Open file read-only (checkbox).
Note: Do not specify a password to open, but after clicking More Options... you'll see the option to Enter password to allow editing which can be useful (if you as the developer don't forget the password!).
Note: To regain the ability to edit the Writer-Form document after saving "read-only" simply Save As... another copy without selecting the "read-only" attribute.